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2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Top 10 Games for Anyone

Here at GameHead, we know that buying the right gift for the right person can be tricky, and that's especially true when you're buying for a Gamer. The 2012 Holiday Gift Guide is here to help. We've put together a total of 40 games that bring you a huge variety of gaming experiences. Please read our introduction for more details.

When it comes to games that anyone can enjoy, a few classics come to mind. However, the industry is always expanding, and new classics see release every year. We here at GameHead know that it can be difficult to find a great new game – or a classic in the making – for someone who is looking for a little gaming fun this holiday season. That's why we compiled a list of our top 10 games that we feel everyone and anyone can enjoy.

This list contains a little something for everyone, including some modern classics that have become known worldwide, and some new games that seek to appeal to everyone ranging from the new player to the experienced gamer. This list contains games that are quick to learn, easy to play, and can be enjoyed the day someone receives it as a gift. They appeal to a wide range, and that's why they made it onto our list of the top 10 games for anyone.

We kick off this year's list with some modern classics that we looked at last year, and then we'll highlight some great new games that have come out in the last few months.

Settlers of Catan – Mayfair Games

This list is going to start off with some selections from last year, as they are the latest generation of board game classics. Settlers of Catan - 15th Anniversary Edition, one of the first big German style board games (games that blend strategic chess-like elements with some of the drama and luck of party games), was brought to the states by Mayfair Games, and is truly a modern classic. The game has players building settlements on the island of Catan, where they must build roads, cities, and settlements. The resources that they gain each turn let them expand, or it can give them bargaining power with other players in trades, as all players jockey to reach 10 Victory Points first.

The gameplay of Catan combines deep, strategic elements, plenty of player to player interaction, and a little bit of luck to create a truly remarkable gaming experience. Settlers of Catan is a modern classic that any person can enjoy. And, if you wish to expand on the original game, there are plenty of expansions that can modify and add depth to the original gameplay of Catan.

Ticket to Ride – Days of Wonder

Speaking of modern classics, Ticket to Ride by Days of Wonder is another game that should be on your radar if you're looking to grab something that anyone can enjoy. The original game has players building trains across the United States. Longer paths get more points, the longest path is rewarded, and players seek to complete the paths on tickets that they get at the start of the game, or throughout if they are looking for more points.

With easy setup, colorful designs, and a simple to learn yet deep gameplay system, Ticket to Ride stands out as one of the best contemporary board games available, and is one of the best choices for those of you looking for something that is fun for everyone. Veterans of Ticket to Ride may also be interested in one of its many expansions, which include maps of Europe and Asia for a twist on the standard gameplay.

Munchkin Deluxe – Steve Jackson Games

Dungeons! Monsters! Role-playing! And all kinds of hilarious gags that poke fun at traditional role-playing games can be found in Munchkin from Steve Jackson Games. The goal of this card game is simple: get to level 10, and you win. But how do you do that when you start at level 1? Well, grab a weapon, and start killing monsters! Or you can attempt to level up by collecting gold.

Munchkin offers an enjoyable game that is both easy to set up and charming in its art and humor, making it a game that will appeal to most anyone looking to kill an hour and a boatload of monsters. Its price point is also more than reasonable if you just want to start with the original game, making Munchkin a great stocking stuffer.

Dominion by Rio Grande Games

Deck-building games have become extraordinarily popular over the years, and for good reason. They're easy to set up, oftentimes simple to learn, fast to play, and come with a lot of depth. And it all started here with Dominion from Rio Grande Games. Known as the deck-building game to start it all, Dominion is very simple to figure out: players start with ten card decks, and each turn they try to turn their five card hands into things that are better than their copper cards. Players buy actions, which can influence the game's basic turn sequence, and sculpt their deck into a money-making machine until they can start picking up some provinces, which are worth a boatload of Victory Points which are needed to win. Once the provinces – or three piles of cards – run out, the game ends, and the player with the most Victory Points is the winner.

Dominion is a game that is very easy to pick up and play, and the rulebook makes jumping in a breeze, as it also suggests card piles to pick out if you're new. The game has a lot of depth, and is regarded as one of the all-time greats. For those wanting a taste of the first deck-building game experience, this is the game for you!

Dungeon! By Wizards of the Coast

Dungeon! by Wizards of the Coast gives players a healthy dose of fast-paced action. Players start by choosing from one of four roles: rogue, cleric, fighter, or wizard. Once that's done, you race with other players to see who collects the right amount of treasure. Players collect treasure by defeating monsters in the game. The first players to collect their required amount of treasure is the winner.

Dungeon! provides fast, simple gameplay that is enjoyable for seasoned role-playing game enthusiasts looking to take a break from their campaign as well as new players just looking for a quick experience on what it's like to put on the wizard's robe and sling some spells.

Hot Rod Creeps by Cryptozoic Entertainment

Creeps, freaks, thrills, spills, and plenty of high-octane fun is waiting to be had in a game of Hot Rod Creeps by Cryptozoic Entertainment. Select one of six crazy racers, and race your Hot Rod on a customizable race track. Speed around corners, come from behind at great risk thanks to the nitro deck, or blow your opponents off of the race track with weapons and other dastardly pit crew upgrades. Speed over obstacles and reach the finish line before anyone else to win!

With hilarious artwork and the ability to customize the game to be as short or as long as you'd like, Hot Rod Creeps offers an experience that will be enjoyable for someone just looking for a quick game, as well as the experienced gamers and honorary hot rod creeps who seek to build the race track to end all race tracks.

Stratego by Spin Master

Spin Master has released a classic with a new look and the same great gameplay. Stratego is game many may be familiar with, as it's been around for quite a while. It is a game of hidden information, as players move their pieces against each other in an attempt to find the other team's flag. When pieces collide, they are revealed, and the stronger piece, based on its ranking, will knock the weaker piece off the board. The first player to find the enemy flag is the winner.

Stratego is a classic that is highly regarded by some as a strategic game featuring hidden information, great gameplay, and a following that is quite remarkable. The Spin Master release gives it a space-marine look that a younger audience may find appealing, and also shrinks down the game a bit which can create some different experienced for veteran players, and the presentation combined with classic fun makes this a great fit for anyone.

Killer Bunnies Blue Starter deck by Playroom Entertainment

What's more adorable than a bunny? How about some killer bunnies? Well, that may not sound very cute, but the art and flavor of Killer Bunnies from Playroom Entertainment sure is sweet! In this fast-paced card game, your goal is to kill all of your opponent's bunnies using whatever you have at your disposal. The first player to successfully leave all their opponents deprived of adorable furry-eared friends is the winner.

Killer Bunnies has a large line-up of different game variations and plenty of boosters to help expand its gameplay. We recommend that new players start out with the Killer Bunnies and the Conquest of the Magic Carrot Blue Starter deck. From there, you can expand on the original game with various boosters. The simple yet fun gameplay combined with a terrific sense of humor make this game a great gift for anyone on your list.

Dixit by Asmodee

In an industry that features plenty of fantastical battles, economical showdowns, and plenty of deck shuffling, Dixit by Asmodee offers a very refreshing break from the norm. It's a party game with colorfully illustrated cards, where players take turns being the storyteller. The storyteller comes up with a word or phrase that best describes the card that they get, and the other players must correctly guess which card inspired the storyteller's word or phrase. Those who guess correct move ahead in the game.

The beautiful illustrations and great social gameplay Dixit stand out as one of our best recommendations to anyone looking to have some quick fun with a group of friends. The game is incredibly quick to play, making this a great game to bust out during short periods of downtime.

Tsuro by Calliope Games

Our final pick in the 2012 Top 10 Games for Anyone is an interesting one. Tsuro from Calliope Games is simple to play but gets much more interesting as the number of players change. Players start at the center of the game board and place tiles on the board each turn from a random stack that they draw from. Your stone will follow the path it is on as new tiles are placed, and the path can stay straight or dramatically change direction based on the paths featured on the tile. Your opponents will do the same, and being steered off the game board by the path you have chosen takes you out of the game!

Tsuro is very simple play, and games are lightning fast, making this a great way to pass the time. Best of all, the gameplay can change based on the number of players, and can get a lot crazier as more players are added. Combine this with clean and beautifully designed tiles and boards, and you have a winner for anyone on your shopping list.

And there you have it! Our picks for the Top 10 Games for Anyone. It's a collection of great games that anyone can get into. We hope this helps make your holiday shopping a little easier this year.

Join us again later this week, as we go over our picks for the Top 10 Games for Gamers, From miniatures, to brand new deck-building game action, to some truly epic board game experiences, we'll have a little something that covers all the bases for the gamers you know and love. Until then, happy holidays, and happy shopping!

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